Annual trip for the NFL opener. Me and two of my buddies landed in Vegas around 10pm on Labor Day, about 30 mins late (thanks allegiant). Grabbed the luggage off the carrier and headed toward the taxi zone to find…no line! Jump in the cab; tell him “Bally’s take Trop to Koval and up to Flamingo”. He didn’t argue, and was actually pretty friendly. It was a nice change, as my last few trips have been by cabbies that, after failing to long-haul me, turned into assholes. The wait to check in was a short one with only two people ahead of me. Stepped up with the $20 sammy and made some small talk. We were booked in a South Tower room and the $20 got us upgraded to a North Tower mini-suite on one of the Diamond Floors. It was a clean room, slightly bigger than the average hotel room, but included a separate vanity area with coffee maker. We also had a fridge, and a roll-away (which were both sent up at no cost). We got settled and headed down to the bar next to the poker room (Sully’s?), and found 3 seats next to each other. As we fed our VP machines I realized I forgot my TR card in the room. I refuse to gamble without a card, so made the run upstairs to snag it. Upon returning, I for the life of me couldn’t seem to get my card to read in the machine. I must’ve inserted and removed that sucker over a hundred times, and nothing. Bartender returns with my bottle of Sierra Nevada and notices my struggle. He tells me to let him try, and the son of a bitch gets it to read on his first go! Played through my first twenty (quarters, max bet) pretty quickly. Fed in another and a few hands in snagged 4OK 4’s with the kicker! Nice start! Ordered up some shots for me and the boys and immediately after downing mine, I look down at 3 to a royal, hold em, draw, and BOOM! $1k Royal Flush less than an hour after check-in. I like it! We decide to wander and end up bouncing from Bills to Flamingo, and then back to Bally’s, playing a little here and a little there along the way. The beers were flowing as they always seem to do, and it was getting late. Hit the Tequila Bar for $2 Tacos and called it a night. Tuesday was a late start, due to the late arrival the night prior, the time change, and a lot of beer. We finally got it going in the afternoon and decided to hit Nosh for a quick lunch. I had the Italian Sub and enjoyed it. Not the best by any means, but big and pretty good. After lunch we split up and I ended up wandering over to play some craps. Ended up being an up and down table where although I couldn’t really get anything going, I still won here and there, and ended up cashing out about -$50 after 2.5 hours of play. I headed up to the room as I had an online Fantasy Football Draft to participate in and I was the only one in the league in Vegas. I ended up springing for the $13 – 24 hours of Wi-Fi in the room so I could draft in comfort. After the draft I met back up with the boys where we hit up Sbarro for some quick pizza, and headed over to Caesars for their 10pm poker tourney. Turns out only 9 people had signed up so they refunded our buy-ins and we all bailed. Definitely was slow, being the Tuesday night after a holiday weekend. Turns out, the Flamingo’s 12:30AM tourney had three tables, so we jumped in that one. Both me and a buddy dropped out fairly quick, and the third guy made the final table, but got knocked out 9th, no $$. His final hand was a heartbreaker when he pushed with AA, got called by KK, and lost when his opponent flopped a third K, and rivered a fourth. Ouch! We all reconvened at the tequila Bar for a night cap and some $2 tacos. Wednesday was the first night of the NFL season, with Dallas visiting the Giants. I’m no fan of either, but really liked the Giants to win, even as favorites. Well, as you may know, that one didn’t turn out too well! We spent the day just laying low and doing some random gambling at Bally’s, and waiting for the game. After Dallas screwed me out of $100, we headed over to Cosmo to have some dinner at Holsteins. I love that place. Great beer on tap, apps, fries and onion rings are good, and the burgers are amazing! After dinner one of my friends and I hit the bar-tops, where the 25 cent progressive royal was up to $3k. We played, drank, played, drank, played and drank some more, and finally both gave up after dumping a couple hundred each with exactly zero quads for either of us, let alone any RFs! Rough. Headed over to PH to meet our other buddy who was playing some poker. Sweated him for a while and then we all decided to hoof it back to Bally’s and crash. But since we all agreed a third night of $2 tacos didn’t sound good, we found the hidden pizza place at Cosmo first. Good pizza, from what I recall! Thursday found me feeling the first 3 nights of Vegas catching up to me. I decided to lay low that day, as we were planning on hitting the 7pm poker tourney at Aria. I must say, Aria is by far my favorite place to play poker in Vegas. The room is very nice, tables are in good shape, chairs adjustable and comfy, dealers are solid, and the CW are some of the best and most beautiful in town. Bonus is you can order pretty much ANYTHING to drink you can think of. Anyhow, despite being happy to be back in my favorite room, I was feeling off the whole day. Tired, and not playing good poker, I managed to make to 20th (out of 51) before getting knocked out. Made some bad plays, and just never had my head around it. Neither of my buddies’s cashed either, so we lazily cabbed it back up to Bally’s. Friday was moving day, heading up to the Mirage for the weekend. It’s funny, I’ve played so Mlife heavy my last few trips that I got the weekend comped there, while having to pay $39/nt at Bally’s! Anyhow, hit the check-in at the Mirage, tip the desk $20, and score a Higher Floor room facing front. It wasn’t quite ready so they took my # and texted me when it was. It only took an hour or so, and we were snagging some lunch anyhow, so it worked out just fine. My Friday night was pretty much entirely spent playing VP at both the Mirage Sports Bar, and the TI Breeze Bar. I must’ve run through $500 at each place, and really couldn’t get much beyond non-premium quads (I play DDB). Time to call it a day, as it was a loser, so the sooner it was over the better. Saturday ended up being a roller coaster ride for me. Started out losing $200 playing VP, a $1 prog bank of slant-tops near the craps tables. Went over and won it back playing craps. Hit the bar-tops and lost $300. Dropped by the $100 WOF slot and won it back with a $400 spin. Took a break and we all headed to Mesa for dinner. Great meal, albeit a bit pricey, but one of the better dinners I’ve had in Vegas. Wound up heading over to Harrah’s for their 8pm poker tourney. Not a bad little tourney, with a decent structure for a >$100 buy-in. Only lasted a about an hour and a half. No notable hands to revisit. Walked out toward Carnival Court where we saw security dragging one guy out and behind him was a couple surrounded by more security. The girl was crying and the guy had a black eye. My best guess is someone didn’t like his girlfriend dancing with another dude, and when that someone approached said dude, dude proceeded to clock him in the face. Ooops. After realizing that was the extent of the excitement, we made our way back to the Mirage for late night wings from BLT. Sunday morning my alarm is screaming at 8:30am reminding me that the first NFL Sunday of the season was only 90 minutes away. Hit the shower and headed down to the book. I wasn’t too surprised that it was already standing room only in the book, with about an hour until the first wave of games kicked off. Laid a bunch of future losing bets down (the only one I hit was Patriots), and found a nice spot next to a railing so I could see the games and at least have something to lean on. Getting hungry, I hit up CPK for a salad and a pie, while still being able to see my all of my bets lose in real time. Being our last night in town, we decided another run at the 7pm Aria poker tourney was required. Good thing we did! I played this tourney well. Sometimes you just feel like you are going to do well, making the right decisions, folding the occasional winner, but taking down all of the coin-flips. Slowly but surely my stack of chips grew, while one after the other were eliminated, including my two buddies. About midnight we were down to the final table, and I had a healthy chip stack. I was very selective, yet also very aggressive, and after about an hour or so of play we were down to the bubble. The very next hand after agreeing to pay the bubble, the short stack gets bounced and we all throw him $25, which covers his buy-in. Now, 5-handed and fairly equally stacked, we discuss the chop. Turns out it was about $1k each, which was only slightly less than 2nd paid. With the blinds climbing fast, we all agreed to chop it down, congratulated each other, and collected our prize. The boys had already bailed back to the Mirage as they were sick of rail-birding me for a couple hours. So I cabbed back up, and met up with them for some celebratory cocktails and the story. Back down to the Mirage bar where my $100 bill lasted me almost 2 hours on the 25 cent, ten play, progressive bar tops. Realizing it was now about 5am, I decided to hit the hay. We had to leave for the airport at about 11:30am, so I figured I’d crash now and wake up early enough to get a little action in the morning. Monday. Departure day. Up, showered and out of the room by 9:30am gave me time to grab a coffee and bagel, and get a good hour or two of play in before heading to the airport. Hit the bar-tops again, and my $100 bill only lasted about 15 mins. Screw this I thought, and wandered to find a small bank of $1 VP progressives near the Atrium. Picked the end machine and pumped in a hundy. Even with the $1k hit on day one, and the $1k win in the Aria poker tourney, I was still down about 1500 on the week. Not bad considering that includes all the food, bev, tips, cabs, etc. Anyhow, I’m playing for about 15 mins when I’m dealt the King, Ten, and Queen of Diamonds, as well as the King of Spades and some other unimportant card. Looking down at the 3 to a royal all in a row, I opted to ditch the pair of Kings, and take a stab at the RF. How many 3-to-a-royals have I drawn to this week. Maybe 300? Well wouldn’t ya know, I smack the draw button, and Jack and Ace of Diamonds fall in presenting what I refer to as one of the most beautiful sights in Vegas. Boom #2 for the trip, but this time I was playing dollars and the prog was up to $4682. Wow! Here I was, 20 seconds ago, an hour from departure and down 1500. How quickly things can turn around, as now, I’ve not only covered the trip, but am coming home with twice what I brought. To make it even more remarkable, this was my 2nd biggie of the year. Back in January while on vacation with the GF, I snagged a 5600 RF at TI. Man I love this town! Head up to gather the crew, cab it to LAS, and sleep the entire flight back. Another fun trip with the boys, and another winner. I’m already researching flights for a quick return before the year is up. Looking at mid-December. Hope you all enjoyed the report, and I hope the few pics I’m attempting to post works. Cheers!